Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard Richman
Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
Tariffs to Balance Trade Do Not Violate Free Trade Policy
The media are all hyped up about trade wars. Where were they when the trade deficits showed up endlessly in the USA Gross Domestic Product accounts and slowed economic growth? They still do not mention them except to deride Pres. Trump when he mentions it. John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, long a free trader, made an exception when depressed conditions existed in the markets for labor, writing that the trouble with free trade was the assumption “that if you throw men out of work in one direction you re-employ them in another. As soon as that link in the chain is broken the whole of the free trade argument breaks down.” He argued that labor would resist a cut in money wages. But they would accept a cut in real wages brought about as a result of rising import prices. However, he feared that the tariffs would become permanent. This problem is solved by imposing variable tariffs which diminish automatically as trade become balanced. We argue that balanced trade with rest of the world should be that appropriate goal.
Balanced trade is easy to achieve, not by tariffs on particular products, which invited counter measures by our trading partners but by scaled tariffs, single-country-variable tariffs, that work like devaluing a currency, the traditional method of achieving balanced trade. Our problem is with only a handful of countries. Countries that have huge chronic trade surpluses with the U.S. which in 2017 included China $ 375.6 billion, Japan $68.9 billion, the European Union $151.4 billion (including Germany $63.7 billion), and Mexico $70 billion. Balancing trade with those few countries would reduce our trade deficit over 80%. ...
Legalize All Drugs and Tax Them As We Do Alcohol.
Nearly all of our domestic violence is caused by laws “prohibiting” citizens from what is popularly considered evil conduct: consuming drugs. The U.S. government has spent more than $1 trillion on its war on drugs. In 2015 alone $36 billion was spent on the war on drugs and about an estimated $40 billion as the cost of imprisoned drug-offenders. In 2017, federal, state and local revenues from taxes on alcoholic beverages amounted to $10 billion. Revenues from taxes on the production and sale of drugs could easily be double that. ...
Bretton Woods and Balanced Trade
In a recent piece in Project Syndicate, Roger Farmer gets some things right and some things wrong in assessment of the link between globalization, populism, and trade. What he gets right, first, is the significance of the end of the Bretton Woods system of exchange rates in shaping the modern era.
And then the decline of the Bretton Woods controls as the harbinger of what has come since:
But his next rhetorical move assumes an answer in economic theory that does not exist:
Journal of Economic Literature:
Atlantic Economic Journal: